How can I prevent my pots & pans from burning?

There must be some way I can make custard or rice-pudding without burning the bottom of the pan, or am I forced to go and buy non-stick pans?
Has anyone got any tips how to prevent this?
Update: Thanks all for your great tips. I've been using very good quality pots and pans for years, so I think it must have to do with the stirring ...or not stirring enough. Joseph Hussein's comments on the electric cooker gave me 'food for thought' - you can't lower the heat very quickly as you... show more Thanks all for your great tips.

I've been using very good quality pots and pans for years, so I think it must have to do with the stirring ...or not stirring enough.

Joseph Hussein's comments on the electric cooker gave me 'food for thought' - you can't lower the heat very quickly as you can with the modern ones so perhaps that has something to do with it.
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